Should Nation Be The Foundation Of Identity?



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October 24, 2011 Melyssa Barakat

Should Nation Be The Foundation Of Identity?

Nation should be the foundation of your identity, but to a certain extent. A nation creates two senses of belongings and can promote unity, good values, and beliefs and can stabilize an identity. A collective identity is a major part of one’s nation; one’s collective identity is there to begin with. The term nation also refers to ‘people’ rather than ‘country’, it develops from shared linguistics, ethnic, cultural, religious, spiritual, geographical and political understandings. In, addition one’s nation is a part of an identity, but to a certain extent because one may only take in a great amount of patriotism for their nation. Therefore, everyone has a nation they belong to and that nation is where they began, where their national heritage starts. In addition, a nation is a part of an identity from the beginning, and that one may learn to adapt to other cultures, and nations, but in the end one belongs to a nation, that created their identity to begin with.

The term contending loyalties are loyalties that compete amongst each other. People sometimes must choose among various loyalties based on their commitment to ones loyalty to begin with. In other words, a nation can be defined in the same way. One may always be loyal to the nation that brought up and created their identity to begin with, but they also are loyal to another nation as well. One Canadian example of contending loyalties is the Oka Crisis. In 1990, the violence that occurred during the Oka Crisis had made national- and international- headlines, which started a turning point towards Aboriginal people and Quebec/Canadian government. Mohawks on the Kanesatake reserve, near the Quebec village of Oka, was where protesting and roadblocks began (protestors refused to remove the, barricade). Their goal was to stop the expansion onto land the Mohawks claimed as their own and considered sacred. For four months straight the violence continued, but on July 11, Quebec’s provincial police forces were ordered to disband the protestors. As the crisis deepened the government called in the army and the crisis finally ended. The fight to keep this land was a major crisis, because this land was a part of their identity and what kept their patriotism for their nation strong. With this event, it shows two contending loyalties. In essence, to stay loyal to the nation one started off with, and to stay loyal to the new nation that you are adapting into an identity. Once again, a nation is the foundation of an identity because if one is willing to fight with their nation and for their nation, than their nation is most definitely apart of them.

Collective consciousness refers to the condition of the subject within the whole of the society, and how any given individual comes to view herself as part of any given group. In other words, one’s collective identity is identical to one’s collective consciousness because one’s nation is collective and if your identity is based on it, it creates a certain amount of tolerance. The French Revolution (1789-1799) is an excellent example, because it shows individuals fighting for their nation, since they believe it is what brings them together and builds their country, France. The major event that occurred was the storming of the Bastille prison. Over 600 revolutionaries took part in this event, hence how important it was. Their leader, King Louis XVI did not pay attention to the people and continued creating economic difficulties (raising taxation and making rich aristocrats richer and the poor poorer). The people could only tolerate so much. Therefore, an aggressive action must take place by the people because the power must only reside in the nation and that is what shapes a country to begin with. This event helped people share a sense of belonging and creates a collective view with others. The people of France, individually chose to battle for their nation. In other words, this shows one’s understanding that a nation is a part of an identity. In order to prove that, one must begin with a collective identity and creates a sense of belonging with a group. This builds an individual’s nation, which creates one’s identity.

“Every nation has a creation story to tell.” Canadian Prime Minister Stephan Harper began his speech with this quote. On April 9, 2007 15,000 people, dignitaries, soldiers, students, and civilians who gathered together for the ceremony rededicating the Canadian Nation Vimy Memorial. This event was a major turning point for many Canadians. This gave many people a sense that when Canadians united, they could tackle, and achieve, great things. Events like this, created national values and beliefs amongst a nation. As Canadians this brought “us” a sense of belonging and pride. Things like Canadian values, beliefs, culture, are what build one’s identity in order for a nation to be the foundation of an individual’s identity. The national anthem is sung every morning at one’s school, the Canadian flag is imprinted on one’s team jacket; Canadians go cheer on their fellow Canadians at Olympic Games, supporting multiculturalism and freedom of human rights, fighting for your country, protesting against something one does not believe in, creating unity among one another, acknowledging national heritage, creating diversity and individuality throughout a nation, and building a sense of belonging are all apart of having patriotism for one’s nation. As individuals one may fight for their nation, but they also build their nation, that goes to show a nation is a absolutely apart of an individual’s identity, but to a certain extent.

In conclusion, a nation is a part of one’s identity. A nation is an element of a shared state of mind, characteristics, beliefs, language, religion, tradition, culture, which can stabilize an identity. Philosophers such as Johann Fichte, Ernest Renan, and Benedict Anderson used words such as “inseparable whole,” “common glories,” “common will” and “community,” which suggested the idea of collective group identity, that underlines the concept of a nation. A nation develops from shared linguistics, ethnic, cultural, religious, geographical, and political understanding. Therefore, one may not define “nation” in one definition because there is so much that builds a nation. In conclusion a nation is the people. A nation is a part of each individual; it is the foundation of your family and your personal components. For this reason, a nation is a part of one’s identity, but to a certain extent that allows them to adapt to other cultures or pursue other nations.



Bibliography.

Class textbook: Exploring Nationalism.

By Robert Gardner, Daniel J. McDevitt, Margaret Hoogeveen and Angus L. Scully



Soc 20-1 Mr.Johnston


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